It all begins with the arrival at the first floor door of Pariwana. Just buzz the button and walk up the spiraling granite staircase to Pariwana reception.
Peru is a great country to backpack in as it is rough, cutting edge and still very unexplored. Add to this the wild life, wonderful people and untouched nature and you have a summary of all the great things that make Peru so unbelievably great to travel.
By Campbell Plowden (email@example.com); special report for the Pariwana Hostel Blog
If you want to visit the Amazon rainforest in Peru, you will probably fly into the gateway city of Iquitos. If you are really savvy, you can get around the city by bus, but it’s cheap to take a “mototaxi” (three-person cab mounted on a motorcycle) almost anywhere.
By Campbell Plowden (firstname.lastname@example.org); special report for the Pariwana Hostel Blog
Adventures in the Peruvian Amazon often if begin in the gateway city of Iquitos. There are daily flights to Iquitos from Lima on LAN, Peruvian Airlines and Star Airlines. Copa Airlines now offers three flights per week between Iquitos and Panama.
By Campbell Plowden (email@example.com); special report for the Pariwana Hostel Blog
In the first part of this series (Travel tips for large lanchas), I offered tips for backpackers traveling between Iquitos and other major points in the northern Peruvian Amazon like the Brazilian frontier, Pucallpa, and Yurimaguas in the large lanchas (ferries) that are slow and relatively inexpensive.
The price of food in Lima is much greater than elsewhere in the country because the city’s cost of living is much higher. Although the quaint markets of the Sierra villages offer the atmospheric prestige, Lima offers the same stuff. You can find most everything in the capital.
Peru is becoming increasingly popular as it has many great spots to visit. You see more and more hostel, camping grounds and other accommodations for travellers popping out of the ground in no-time. As a backpacker it is likely you will be staying in a range of different places to spend a night, usually with a lot of fellow travellers.
By Campbell Plowden (firstname.lastname@example.org); special report for the Pariwana Hostel Blog
Backpackers who want the adventure of traveling through the Amazon have two basic options for sleeping when going beyond hostels with beds – a tent or a hammock. Many rural people and backpackers (mochileros) in Peru bring a tent or squared-off mosquito net with them to sleep when they’re on the move. Tents give you some privacy to change and a place to keep your pack out of sight. They should be lightweight, have a built-in mosquito net, and freestanding (you’ll often need to put it up on a wooden floor where it’s not possible to put in stakes).
I prefer using a hammock over a tent – perhaps because I slept in one for a few years when I lived in a native village in Brazil. One major advantage of a hammock is that it is essential to have one for long trips on “lanchas.” These are the boats that carry dozens to hundreds of people to and from Iquitos and towns along the Amazon and major tributaries. Check out “Travel trips for boat travel in the Peruvian Amazon – Part 1: Large Lanchas” for ways to get around on these large boats. Relaxing in a swaying hammock is also a lot more comfortable than sitting on a hard bench for a full day in one of the smaller community lanchas (See Travel tips for “colectivos” for more about getting around on these smaller boats).
There are three basic types of hammocks – nylon travel hammocks, “jungle” hammocks, and cloth hammocks. The first kind is the lightest and relatively cheap. It’s fine for a nap but not so comfortable to sleep in for long stretches. Jungle hammocks have built in mosquito netting and tend to more spacious and a bit more comfortable than the simple nylon models. Some are also partially or completely waterproof. These models are good choices for camping in the jungle and usually need to be purchased at specialty camping stores or online.
Cotton hammocks come in a variety of sizes. They are bulkier than ones made of synthetic materials, but they are the most comfortable. They are also warmer – a nice asset in chilly nights in the Amazon. These are good choices for backpackers traveling on boats and sleeping in rural homes – less appropriate for camping in the forest. The best quality cloth hammocks are made in Brazil, but all types can be bought in Peru. Choose your hammock well because it will be your refuge for three days going by lancha from Iquitos to Santa Rosa (Peruvian town at the border with Brazilian), four days going from Yurimaguas to Iquitos, and five days going from Iquitos to Pucallpa.
Here are some tips for setting up your hammock. No matter what kind of model you get, tie four to six feet of chord, rope, or flat strips of strong fabric (called “pretina” in Peru) to the loop on both ends of the hammock. I use nylon rope that is a third to half-inch wide. Thin chords are lightweight, but they can become almost impossible to untie if the knots have borne the full weight of someone lying in a hammock for hours. Wrap or tie these chords to opposing metal beams or wooden rafters so the middle of the hammock hangs about two to two and a half feet below the ends. A timber hitch is a great knot for this because provides a secure attachment and is easily undone. On “lanchas” be sure to tie your ropes to beam above the plastic drapes so you won’t have to retie your hammock when these are let down during the night and heavy rain. If you’re not clever with knots and seem to be struggling, a Peruvian neighbor traveler will likely offer to help you.
When your hammock is in place, push down on it hard and then gradually sit it in to see if your knots hold fast. Crashing down on your butt can be painful (although funny if it happens in slow motion). Then get in to test it lying down. You should be able to stretch out your full body lying diagonally. This position will allow you to keep your back somewhat straight and prevent back ache. Adjust the height and length of your hanging ropes if needed to get your hammock as comfortable as possible.
Space is a premium on the hammock decks of crowded lanchas. If you want to sleep next to a fellow backpacker, put your hammocks right next to each other or someone is likely to squeeze in between you. Lie down with your head toward the middle of the boat because it’s hard for people to avoid knocking into you as they walk along the side next to the benches. You can bonk your head less and let your fellow passengers sleep more if you can master the up and down slalom ducking between hammock ropes going to the bathroom or snack bar. It’s important to have a mosquito net covering your hammock when sleeping on land or a boat in port around sunrise or sunset. This isn’t so necessary on moving boats that have a nice breeze blowing through them. Having a mosquitero on a lancha, though, does give you some extra privacy and room to keep small valuables near you.
Enjoy the experience of gently swaying in a comfortable hammock on a boat trip bound for adventure in the Amazon. You may sleep as soundly as a baby.
When you pass through Iquitos, you can find other backpackers at more than a dozen hostels and inexpensive hotels near the Plaza de Armas. A few popular ones are La Pascana, Mad Mick’s Bunkhouse and Trading Post and the local branch of the Flying Dog Hostel. My favorite place to have a drink, enjoy the only green Thai curry in Iquitos, hear about people’s favorite ayahuasca shaman and have an occasional game of chess with the owner is the Karma Café on Calle Napo 138.
Check out other articles in this series:
Travel trips for boat travel in the Peruvian Amazon – Part 1: Large lanchas
Travel trips for boat travel in the Peruvian Amazon – Part 2: Rapidos (speed boats)
Travel trips for boat travel in the Peruvian Amazon – Part 3: Colectivos (community lanchas)
Campbell Plowden is the Executive Director of the Center for Amazon Community Ecology, a non-profit organization that promotes forest conservation and sustainable livelihoods for traditional communities in the Peruvian Amazon. He regularly stays at the Pariwana Hostel when he passes through Lima. See his regular blog Campbell’s Amazon Journal. Visit or join the
If you’re coming to the tourist backpacker hub of Peru, Cusco, from Pariwana Lima, then you can expect many of the same great features at Pariwana Cusco. Pariwana Cusco was named best hostel in Peru by HostelBookers, and second best on the continent.
Welcome to the cultural hub of Peru. Once checked in to Pariwana Cusco, you’ll want to make the best of your time in order to see all the sights that Cusco has to offer. There are plenty of free sites, including the ChocoMuseum, the numerous interesting Incan walls of precision-cut stones, the university, several churches and all the lovely plazas, but for everything else you’ll need to get your hands on the Boleto Turistico.
If you’re coming from Pariwana Lima, you might think nothing can beat that location, which is close to all the great bars and clubs of Miraflores. However, you’ll be pleasantly surprised when you throw your backpack to your bed and hit the night scene in Cuzco. You were excited to find Pariwana Cuzco so centrally located. It’s close to, well, everything. The nightlife is easy to find, it’s happening, and it’s dense. Here are a few options for you to consider when planning your nights out in Cuzco. Let the party begin.
Mama Africa Disco is a hoppin’ joint. It has, as the title suggests, some powerful music to get down to. It’s a hot spot for backpackers and travellers, so expect to see a lot of foreign faces. If it’s not your thing to be surrounded by travellers, don’t fret; your options continue!
At Los Perros, get your fill of a superb Pisco Sour. That’s right; the national drink of Peru is made with a flare in this Cuzco bar. If it’s smoke you prefer, why not check out Indigo for a bit of hookah.
There are a number of English and Irish pubs for those homesick travellers out there. You can expect the party to be key at The Cross Keys Pub, for example. If the bar named Paddy O’Flaherty’s attracts you, then you must like a good can ‘o Guinness. As for you Americans out there, there are a few sports bars that will remind you of home, and The Norton Rat’s is not unlike Midwestern bikers bars.
For more local flare, check out the Hibrido Lounge Bar Cusco. Make sure you find your way there during happy hour to make the best of the double “chelas”. Once the night grows late, it’ll be time to hit the club scene.
For a small club with good selection of popular rock music, the Eko Club is a good choice. Its atmospheric vibe sends you into your dance trance if you let it! Your options are seemingly unlimited when it comes to Cusco nightlife. You’ll need months to see it all. Make sure to wind down the small corridor streets in order to find the hidden delights.
Clubs rage into the early morning, and the streets are usually friendly with party-goers foreign and local alike. If you feel like staying in for a drink, Pariwana Cusco’s bar is happening and there’s always something going on!
Last week I was in Montreal, in a job I didn’t like too much and didn’t pay enough. I was thinking about my friend Sacha who was currently in Ecuador and Peru trekking and surfing… Ohh I envied him. Snow started falling in Montreal and I got 2 more parking tickets to add up on my 10+ pile of white and red papers. I got an email from work for a meeting on Monday morning and surprisingly (and happily) got laid off.. I guess I was complaining too much about the work conditions because according to my sales, I was the 2nd most performing seller. Whatever, I took the news sadly but an hour later I was looking at flights for a possible surf trip and putting ads on craigslist to rent out my place for a month or so…
After checking on MagicSeaWeed.com, Hawaii, Dominican Republic and Peru were my 3 finalists for good surfing in December and I ended up taking Peru, even if the flight was a few hundred dollars more expensive. I thought the cheap cost of living would make it up. On Wednesday I found a guy to rent my place, I moved all my stuff to storage on Thursday and bought the flight for the next Monday to Lima, Peru.
While waiting at the airport, I realised I would arrive around 11h30pm at night and didn’t have any hostel booked. I looked on google and hostelworld for the top rated hostels in Lima and I tried to reach a few by skype. I guess I couldn’t find the right way to dial the number because it keeps telling me wrong number or occupied. In a last attempt, I emailed 3 of my top hostel picks 5 minutes before entering the plane and I asked them if they could pick me up at the airport the same night. Because I wouldn’t be able to see if they answered me I figured at least one of the three would show up to pick me up.
The flight passed quickly (even if it was delayed) but on arrival I checked my surf and it had been damaged by the airline. After an hour of filling report for the insurance I finally walked out of the airport and looked around with only a bit of hope left as I heard someone yelling my name “ SEBASTIEN!” with his big PARIWANA sign. Ahhh I couldn’t have been happier! The chauffeur told me he had been waiting two hours for me. He took me to the hostel (gotta love 24h check-in!) and I made my way to the roof top bar to meet some fellow travellers. The bar was already closed (2am) but a guy gave me half his beer while some rasta man was playing a nice reggae song in front of 3 cute girls.
This is all I needed to feel welcomed in Peru and filled with positive vibes. I went to bed that night (nice comfy bed!) and felt exactly at the right place.
Pariwana hostels are already gaining popularity faster than seemingly possible. Their expert marketing crew and superb staff bring Pariwana’s reputation to ears far and wide. People arrive to Pariwana Lima with high expectations after having been at Pariwana Cusco, and surely the Lima site delivers.
Cusco, known as the center of the ancient Inca civilisation, filled with culture and a standard travel hub for everybody going to Machu Picchu. Also, Cusco has become known as the southern mountain party town with an unlimited range in bars and clubs spread out all over this small town. This is THE place to experience partying and clubbing, whilst enjoying Peru’s amazing Inca culture in one breath!
As Cusco has become increasingly important for the backpack industry, a lot of hostels have joined the party scene, organizing pub crawls, theme nights and live performances around town. This blends in greatly with discovering the nightlife till dawn and on. Our own Pariwana hostel Cusco has a great reputation in Cusco for its great parties, relaxed bar and live music performances.
Check out the list we made for you with Cusco’s major hot-spots.
5 great bars in Cusco
1. The Frogs – Pasaje Huarancallqu 185 (on the end of calle Ruinas)
This is a lounge – bar with also a restaurant attached to it. This bar has an amazing variety in great activities, like a cinema, billiard area and a foosball table, to mention a few.
2. Paddy Flahertys – Plaza de Armas
This festively decorated Irish pub is considered as the highest Irish Pub worldwide (10.739 ft), with a great location on the main square, the Plaza de Armas. With proper Guinness draft on tab, an international crowd and the familiar British sports on the screen, it is easy to get lost in this bar for quite some afternoons and evenings.
3. 7 Angelitos – Calle 7 Angelitos 638, in the area of San Blas
This intimate local hipster lounge is popular during evenings and the late nights. It is known for their motto: “Coffee, Music and Cocktails”. Most nights they offer live music from Peru’s creole (coastal) music, local rock bands and DJ’s.
4. Ukukus – Calle Plateros 316
In this artistic bar you can find an optimal combination of music and culture. You will find any music type here, from typical Andean music, to jazz, salsa, fusion and more local, national and international flavours. Also check out their(Spanish) website to get an impression about this “local” place.
5. Mushrooms Lounge & Bar – Plaza de Armas
This bar is known for playing the best electronic music in town. Located in the center, this bar is usually a must stop for most backpackers to go wild on great DJ mixes. Also national and international DJ’s play here frequently, adding to its international vibe and constantly renewing music taste.
There are plenty of other bars that are definitely not less attractive than the above mentioned bars. Here are some other bars you will easily find around on your wander through gorgeous Cusco: El Garabatos, Fallen Angel, Trotamundos, Norton’s, Aldea Yanapay, Los Perros, Inka Team and many more!
4 great clubs in Cusco
1. Mythology – Plaza de Armas
This popular and busy club is, as many, located on the main square and offers a wide range of entertainment. During the day it plays movies on the big screen, transforming into a proper dance club at night. Accommodating for both the locals and plenty of backpackers around, you will find reggae, rock, electronic, salsa and more here. No entry fee and free salsa lessons are the main reasons why it draws such a big crowd.
2. Mama Africa – Plaza de Armas
As one of the most famous party spots in town, Mama Africa has a solid reputation as must-stop-club in Cusco. You can find a wide variety in music and entertainment on any given day throughout the week, with packed weekends till the early hours. Travellers from all around the world get together here for a good time and are joined by many locals in search for a hot international hook-up. Also check out their website
3. Kamikaze – Plaza Regocijo 274 (2nd and 3rd floor)
Open since1985, Kamikaze is the daddy of all clubs in Cusco. Conveniently located just a block away from the Plaza de Armas, you’ll find this party place on a corner of Plaza Regocijo, on the second and third floor. It has more of a bar-lounge vibe at the start of the night and eventually progresses into a full on party at the end of the night.
4. Uptown – Calle Suecia 302
This is another popular nightclub, staying open the entire night. Like most other clubs you can see plenty of videos during the day time, hiding from the sun and recovering from the hangover of the last night. And at the same time getting some salsa lessons in for free.
If you are looking for a place to stay close to party central (basically; Plaza de Armas), then check out our Cusco hostel on only two small blocks away from all this great nightlife!
Most of the eastern part of Peru is covered by endless miles of jungle, ruled by the laws of nature and the world’s longest and mighty Amazon river. This part of Peru is where on a daily basis you will be challenged, amazed and astonished, seeing the biggest variety in wildlife you can imagine, visiting genuine jungle tribes and experiencing local customs in this gorgeous piece of flora and fauna.
The Amazon region covers three main regions in east Peru; Loreto in the north, Ucayali in the middle and Madre de Dios in the south. If you are backpacking in Peru you are bound to hear some great stories about the Amazon region, where people mainly refer to the main cities in the respective regions – Iquitos in Loreto, Pucallpa in Ucayali and Puerto Maldanado in Madre de Dios.
Iquitos is basically the main stop in the Amazon, in Peru, forming a great travelling hub to backpack onto Brasil and Colombia over the Amazon river. Also check out the article we put on our blog specifically about Iquitos and its surroundings.
A bit more located to the south of Iquitos, you’ll find the famous city of Pucallpa, in the Ucuyali region. Pucallpa is also located along one of the arms of the Amazon river, so it might be worth visiting this place along your way to Iquitos, if you decide an Amazonian boat trip.
Inside the city you can find “Pucallpa’s National Park”. This park represents a zoo where various protected species can be seen. The entire region is mainly known for its many parks and reserves, like the Tambopata National Reserve (locally known as “Yarinacocha”), the Von Humboldt reserve and, Padre Abad, amongst many others.
Many native communities still live inside this region. So if you have a keen interest in Peru’s culture and want to get acquainted with the local way of life within the tribes, this can offer you a great and unique adventure!
One of the most known tribes is located in Shipiba – Coniba, located around 15 minutes by car from Pucallpa. This place is full of strange and traditional behaviour and rites. You can even practise “trueque” here, which means the actual trading of objects instead of using regular money. So pack your backpack practically and collect some unique souvenirs here!
To get to Pucallpa from Lima, you can take ground transport for around 20 hours in total, leading you via the towns of La Oroya, Cerro de Pasco, Huánuco, and Tingo María to Pucallpa. Keep in mind to travel in the dry season to avoid unexpected road closures (keep in mind that dry/wet season differs whether you are north or south, inquiry about this).
Alternatively, you can also catch a plane that takes just under an hour. If you travel from Iquitos, it is 5 – 7 day journey depending on the Amazons’ flow of the river.
The climate in Pucallpa is similar to the climate in Iquitos, just a bit milder with a minimum of 20 degrees Celsius and a maximum of 31 degrees in the hot days.
If you are going a bit more southwards into the Peruvian jungle, you can find Puerto Maldonado close to Bolivia’s border and near Cusco. Puerto Maldonado is known as “The Capital of the Peruvian Diversity” in the Madre de Dios (Mother of God) region. Most importantly, it is renowned for Peru’s most famous reserve, “El Manu”, which until today is still untouched by any man’s hand!
This reserve gives you the opportunity to observe a huge variety of birds, mammals, reptiles, and so on. Also it is home to Peru’s national bird, “El Gallito de las Rocas” (Little Rooster of the Rocks). To stress its wilderness, when you go to this park, paths won’t last longer than 3 or 4 days making it an extreme and not often tried experience.
The tours to “El Manu” include boat trips on various rivers and also the “Colpas de los Guacamayos” expedition. This is an impressive experience where you can see thousands and thousands of birds flying at the same time. It also includes a visit to Ashaninca, which is a native community living in the park. The exclusiveness and adventure of this reserve can easily be stretched to 10 days to appreciate this southern part of Peru’s untouched jungle.
If you are finding yourself in Cusco, you can also get to this park. From Cusco it is a 10 hour trip by bus, followed by a boat trip of another 6 hours. Alternatively you can take a flight from Cusco (30 minutes) to the Boca Manu airport.
From Lima it will take you at least 42 hours over the road to reach Puerto Maldonado, whereas a plane will take you around 1,5 hours.
Besides the necessary repellent, you will be a bit fresher than the other areas in the Amazon, with a high of 31 degrees Celsius in the summer and around 16 degrees in the winter.
If you want an exciting and vibrant nightlife and party on until the morning glory, then Lima represents a great club scene for you to check out. After a relaxing day on the beaches and Lima’s active lifestyle, the evening and night can be spend in a big variety of modern party areas, with the areas of Miraflores and Barranco topping the club list!
Miraflores is mostly known, besides being the prime tourist spot, as a great place to eat, relax, get active and to enjoy the sunset from the impressive cliffs along the surfing coast. But also, it is widely known for its trendy clubs with plenty of bars, casino’s and karaoke café’s all around.
Barranco, on the other hand, has a bit more of a nostalgic feeling with historical sights and wooden bridges. Barranco is only 10 minutes away from Miraflores and it has a great variety of retro bars and clubs all pretty much heaped together within a couple of blocks.
Although there are obviously plenty of other clubs outside these two areas, the best party taste with a smooth mix of locals and backpackers can be found right here!
Here you´ll find our top five clubs in Miraflores and Barranco, in random order:
Aura and Gotica Nightclub (both are located in Larcomar shopping centre, Miraflores)
If you are looking for trendy than look no further, as the nightclubs Aura and Gotica are located on a prime location along the cliffs facing the Pacific. In this great nightclub you hear mainly contemporary Latin house, dance, reggae and other mixes from live DJ’s. These two clubs are also amongst the priciest in Miraflores, but with a big dance floor, outside patio and mixing with the fancy locals, these great party places can pull this off easily in its weekend opening hours. See the websites of Aura and Gotica for more information on events and performances.
Help Retro Bar (Calle Catalino Miranda 158, Barranco)
Don’t let this name fool you…this great club is located in a huge hall. From night to night you can find electronical, rock and hip-hop music here. In weekends Help is quite busy with live DJ’s playing, with also a small cover fee ($7, including drink) and girls mostly entering free. Drinks are not too pricey here and Help can be fun as well during the week.
Check out their website for upcoming events (in Spanish).
El Dragón (Avenida Nicolás de Piérola 168. Barranco)
In this club you can find probably the biggest variety in music styles every night, ranging from reggae, electronic / dance, salsa to rock, blues, live pop bands and the more. Also ere an entrance fee applies.
Check out El Dragón’s website for upcoming events (in Spanish).
Dubal (Calle Esparanza 275 , Miraflores)
This club/disco is right located in the heart of Miraflores and a stonethrow away from our hostel. Dubal disco is known for its varying theme nights, ranging from Salsa night, Her-or-him fashion nights, DJ parties, getting the weekend started party, with girls on the bar, and so on…. Dubal is a bit cheaper than the clubs in Larcomar, but also here you also have to pay an entry fee. The club is open from Thursday tot Saturday and does not have a homepage (yet), so check out on their facebook page.
La Noche (Avenida Bolognesi 307 Barranco)
While being mostly a nice live music bar throughout the week nights, La Noche transforms into a proper club scene with live performances of local artists with salsa, rock, DJ’s, etc. With its live performances, expect to be charged an entry fee (usually under $10).
La Noche is constructing their website. Until that time you can find their events via their Facebook page.
And where to stay to enjoy all this nightlife? Come visit Pariwana hostel Lima, right in the center of Miraflores!
Read on here about practical backbackper tips for Lima, and the tasty and varying food that Lima has to offer.
Looking for comfort in an unbelievable room, specifically for backpackers? Then come and check out our awesome suite at Pariwana Hostel Cusco. This suite fulfills the sophisticated backpacker taste, indulging you in luxury in the middle of the Incas´city!
Our spacious paradise measures 260 square foot and comes with a huge queen sized bed, a top quality hotelier mattress and 4 pillows for the proper pillow-fight. The suite has a private bathroom, which includes a big shower-tube and plenty of room to prepare for the party.
Besides our nicely decorated hostel, we also fitted out the suite with appropriate art-deco furniture, designed by legendary Cusquean artist Victor Zuñiga. The suite has Wi-Fi connection and also comes with a living area which has a big plasma satellite TV, to make sure you experience the comfort of the suite.
We made sure that our suite has the best view of town, looking out over the main square, colonial downtown and the sacred Ausangate peak to make sure you discover a new way to see the Center of the Andean World!
…but it doensn´t matter how much we rave on about our great suite, this is a backpacker room you just need to experience!
Surface: 260 square feet (approx.)
Atmosphere: Eclectic styled decoration, with a great view to Cusco downtown
Price: Check our rate here.